The Harlot's Progress, Plate II

William Hogarth (1697-1764). The Harlot's Progress, Plate II. "Quarrels with her Jew Protector," engraved by S. Davenport. Source: Complete Works, facing p. 108. Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [This image may be used without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose.]

According to the commentary by the Rev. J. Trusler and E. F. Roberts,

Entered into the path of infamy, the next scene exhibits our young heroine the mistress of a rich Jew, attended by a black boy, and surrounded with the pompous parade of tasteless profusion. Her mind being now as depraved as her person is decorated, she keeps up the spirit of her character by extravagance and inconstancy. An example of the first is exhibited in the monkey being suffered to drag her rich head-dress round the room; and of the second, in the retiring gallant. The Hebrew is represented at breakfast with his mistress; but, having come earlier than was expected, the favourrite has not departed. To secure his retreat is an exercise for the invention of both mistress and maid. This is accomplished by the lady finding a pretence for quarrelling with the Jew, kicking down tlhe tea-table, and scalding his legs; which, added to the noise of the china, so far engrosses his attention, that the paramour, assisted by the servant, escapes discovery.

The subjects of two pictures, with which the room is decorated, are David dancing before the ark, and Jonah seated under a gourd. They are placed there not merely as circumstances which belong to Jewish story, but as a piece of covert ridicule on the old masters, who generally painted from the ideas of others, and repeated the same tale ad infinitum. On the toilet-table we discover a mask, which well enough intimates where she had passed part of the preceding night, and that masquerades, then a very fashionable amusement, were much frequented by women of this description — a sufficient reason for their being avoided by those of an opposite character.

Under the protection of this disciple of Moses she could not remain long. Riches were his only attraction; and though profusely lavished on this unworthy object, her attachment was not to be obtained, nor could her constancy be secured: repeated acts of infidelity are punished by dismission; and her next situation shows that, like most of the sisterhood, she had lived without apprehension of the sunshine of life being darkened by the passing cloud, and made no provision for the hour of adversity.[108-109]

References

Complete works of William Hogarth ; in a series of one hundred and fifty superb engravings on steel, from the original pictures / with an introductory essay by James Hannay, and descriptive letterpress, by the Rev. J. Trusler and E.F. Roberts. London and New York: London Printing and Publishing Co., c.1870.

Paulson, Ronald. Hogarth: His Life, Art and Times, 2 vols. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1971.


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